Jon Roberts, PhD, JD

Chairman, Board of Directors;
VP Research & Development
VirWall Systems Inc.

Jon Roberts, PhD, JDJon Roberts, PhD, JD

Dr. Jon Roberts is an inventor, patent attorney, engineer, former research director for the US Government, pilot, and entrepreneur. As founder of VirWall Systems Inc., Dr. Roberts is poised to introduce the VirWall Keyboard Sanitizer, a new device that aims to win the war on unnoticed but nonetheless sickening germs that reside on the typical computer keyboard. Recent studies have revealed that the bacteria and viruses found on shared keyboards can trigger an astonishing range of illnesses, cause thousands of lost days from work and school and cost millions of dollars each year in medical care.

While Dr. Roberts’ career path seems to have taken several dramatic leaps and twists over the years, he says it all makes perfect sense when you look at the common denominator – the study of light.

Dr. Roberts studied at the Rochester Institute of Technology where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree (Cum Laude) in Photographic Science. At Syracuse University, he earned his Master of Science in Photogrammetry and a PhD in remote sensing – related technologies that analyze geometric and spectral properties of distant or obscured objects by analyzing how electromagnetic energy is reflected or emitted. “There are some pretty advanced technologies in this area that in essence allow you to see in the dark, below ground or even behind barriers,” he explains. “But it is really the science of being able to tell lots of things about an object or person without having to come in contact with that object or person.”

He holds or has licensed more than 30 patents in the US and abroad for his own inventions, which include devices and methods to thwart piracy in movie theatres, a consumer product that allows you to keep track of an important item like a purse or laptop (with a sensor that alerts you if you leave the item behind or it “walks off”), ways of evaluating baggage in a security screening system, and the VirWall computer keyboard sanitizer.

“I’m excited about each invention,” says Dr. Roberts. “I guess that’s because I’m a geek at heart,” he laughs. “But I’m unusually excited about the KBS-1. For the first time you can sanitize your keyboard with a safe, uniform, UV illumination in under a minute, that will disable bacteria and viruses including flu and cold viruses, salmonella, e-coli, even MRSA and more.”

Dr. Roberts’ research suggests the device will be especially useful in hospitals, physician offices, schools, retail checkout terminals, college computer kiosks, libraries, and shared office workspaces.

But he’s quick to point out that even single-user keyboards are rife with germs.

“Whatever you touched before you started typing – you transferred it to your computer – where it can stay for hours if not days,” notes Dr. Roberts. “And if you are like so many of us who eat at our desks, that’s a real cause for concern. Your crumbs provide the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Whatever you eat, they eat. And then…they multiply. At that point they’re ready to hitchhike from your fingertips to other objects, to your friends and to your family.”

Dr. Roberts observes that his fascination and expertise with light, sensors and electromagnetic spectrums has played a role in each step of his career path.

In his days as a US Government director of image exploitation research, he managed numerous ground-breaking initiatives to develop imaging systems and mapping technology used by high performance aircraft. In related assignments he served as pilot, sensor system operator and phototechnologist for the Air Force Intelligence and Reconnaissance Division at the Rome Air Development Center in New York.

At General Electric he served as senior staff scientist, working with space systems, satellites and artificial intelligence. At night, he attended law school, and parlayed his engineering background to create a new career path in technology law.

He is Senior Partner at The Marbury Law Group, PLLC (formerly, Roberts Mardula & Wertheim, LLC), based in the DC area. He specializes in security clearance law as well as patent, copyright and trademark protection and litigation in these areas. He interacts with senior level officials of the Department of Commerce and a variety of US Government agencies to enforce client rights in intellectual property in the US and around the world.

As founder of VirWall, and Vice President of R&D for the Company, Dr. Roberts says he has plans to introduce additional products to sanitize other everyday objects that could be vectors for disease.

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Product Fact Sheet

VirWall Keyboard Sanitizer

VirWall Keyboard Sanitizer KBS-1

Purpose of Product

To sanitize computer keyboards as a measure of preventing the spread of potentially pathogenic organisms

Reason for Development

Dr. John Roberts, inventor of the Keyboard Sanitizer, had never been as sick, as frequently, or for such long durations as when his son attended elementary school, a school with computer classrooms. In reading scientific journals to better understand how bacteria and viruses are transmitted, he learned that certain inanimate objects…

Principle of Action

Ultraviolet (UV) light causes molecular rearrangement of a microorganism’s DNA which prevents it from reproducing and therefore renders it microbiologically dead. The effectiveness of UV energy on microbial destruction is dependent upon intensity and time…